POLLING: 66.88 % in the Muslim-dominated Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency.

The arrival of Shahi Imam Bukhari at a polling booth in Chandni Chowk’s Pataudi House saw an enthusiastic response from many Muslim voters present there on Thursday.

However, many said that the religious leader’s announcement of supporting the Congress may not have a wide appeal.

“It will provide some kind of consolidation to the Congress which was fast ceding ground to the AAP in these pockets. But such appeals do not have the same kind of impact on the Muslim voter in the Capital as it may have in areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal,” said Salim, who had come to vote in the same booth.

Salim and others said there were other factors also which could hurt the AAP in the Muslim-dominated Chandni Chowk. They said that it was not just the AAP’s short-lived stay at Delhi Secretariat which irked many Muslim voters.

The other factors that made them wary about choosing the AAP as an option included announcing a Special Investigating Team to look into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and not for the Batla House encounter.

The photo-copies of a fatwa issued by one Maulana Mufti Abdul Irfan Mohammad Naimul Haeem Qadiri (Bahrul Uloomi) of Lucknow not to vote for the AAP were also being circulated in the area. Apparently intended to dissuade Muslims from throwing their support behind the AAP, the pamphlets also contained selective portions of a recent blog on Muslim identity written by AAP candidate Ashutosh. The paragraphs which dealt with Salman Rushdie, Tasleema Nasreen and SIMI were highlighted and their translations in Urdu were also provided.

Some said that because the election was a national one, factors beyond the borders of Delhi also played a part to decide support. For instance, some brought up the recent cases of “controversial recent statements made by Saharanpur Congress candidate Imran Masood and key Modi aide Amit Shah.”

They accused the Election Commission of having double standards as only Mr. Masood was arrested.

While general issues such as corruption did matter to them, on specific ones, the BJP was clearly not a choice for them.

Their traditional hostility towards the BJP was somewhat evident in the form of deserted tables of their polling agents at many places in contrast with the beaming ones of the AAP and the Congress.

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